January 2012 Employment Picture Brightens Over 2011

Written by: Susan Reynolds

The 2012 employment picture is starting to look better than the start of 2011. Overall, jobs are up, unemployment claims are down, and home building permits are starting to increase.  The quality of available jobs, however, isn’t stellar.  If you have perused through the job ads lately, most of them call for contractors, part-time workers, and temp workers.  These jobs do not offer benefits such as health insurance and paid vacations; however, chronically unemployed people who are about to see their unemployment benefits run out are lining up to take whatever they can get.  Expect a high amount of competition for relatively low paying jobs.

Non-government jobs increased overall as the number of public jobs decreased over the last year.  Thousands of government jobs were cut in 2011, and there should be more in the future as cities around the country face budget cuts in 2012.  You probably won’t find too many job listings at the local and state level in your city.  The advertised jobs are mostly for temp or part-time positions with low salaries. To see who’s hiring, let’s analyze the numbers from The Bureau of Labor Statistics: Employment Situation Summary that was released on January 6, 2012.

Overall Unemployment

As of January 6, 2012, the unemployment rate fell to 8.5 percent and the economy added back about 200,000 new jobs. This is the lowest unemployment rate since the spring of 2009.

Long Term Unemployment Outlook

The definition of long-term unemployment is someone who has been unemployed and actively seeking work for at least 27 weeks.  As of January 2012, about 5.6 million people fall into this category.  If you lose your job, you have a very good chance of joining these ranks – 42.5 percent of unemployed Americans have been out of work for over 27 weeks.  Chronic long-term unemployment is a huge issue right now.  Thousands of people around the national have not worked for about two years.  As benefits run out at 99 weeks, many more Americans will be without any income whatsoever.

Where the Jobs Are

The sectors that added back the most jobs included retail, transportation, warehousing, health care, manufacturing, mining, and hospitality.

  • Retail – Retail jobs alone accounted for close to 28,000 new jobs in December of 2011, fueled by seasonal hiring.  This number is expected to drop as stores let their temporary employees go.
  • Construction – Construction jobs actually went up after a downturn in November of 2011.  Jobs in construction accounted for 17,000 new positions.  Home building companies are starting to see an uptick in the number of building permits for multi-family homes.  Investors are usually the ones purchasing these types of properties.
  • Health Care – Once again, the number of jobs in the health care sector remained high.  Around 23,000 new health care jobs were formed in December of 2011, bringing the yearly number of new health care jobs up to 315,000 in 2011.
  • Hospitality – Hospital jobs remain strong, accounting for 24,000 new jobs in December alone.
  • Mining and Manufacturing – Manufacturing jobs suddenly jumped a whopping 23,000 in December after a slow year. The number of mining jobs crept up to 7,000.


January 2012 Employment Picture Brightens Over...

Share Tweet Pin It